The ISL final between ATK and Chennaiyin FC will take place as scheduled behind closed doors today.
“Adhering to the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and directives from several State Governments, all footballing activities under the aegis of AIFF stay suspended till March 31, 2020,” reads the AIFF’s official statement following the coronavirus outbreak.
“All India Football Federation understands and prioritises the importance of human health and life, an area which AIFF will never compromise upon. The AIFF will take a stock of the situation in the last week of March, and take a decision abiding by directives from relevant authorities at that juncture.”
“All Hero I-League matches have been suspended from March 15, 2020 onwards. Furthermore, all Hero Second Division, Hero Youth Leagues, Golden Baby Leagues, as well as, National Competitions also stay suspended with immediate effect. As announced earlier, the Hero Indian Super League final will be played behind closed doors.”
Thus, the much-awaited Kolkata Derby has been postponed once again amidst the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Earlier, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) had announced that all the remaining games of the I-League will be played behind closed doors in line with an advisory issued by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
However, the state government of West Bengal under the leadership of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee decided to disallow all sporting activities till 31st March in a meeting held on Friday and the AIFF has decided to comply with the diktat.
Incidentally, the first derby of the season was also postponed due to the anti-CAA protests in the state. The game finally took place on a latter date in January.
Now, the second derby scheduled on 15th of March will now be postponed to a later date. Moreover, the next round of meeting of all the stakeholders of the derby is scheduled on 30th March.
As per the original schedule of the I-League, Mohun Bagan are to finish off their season on 12th April and various reports suggest that the contracts of most first-team players run till then. It remains to be seen how the authorities reschedule the games.
Mohun Bagan have already been champions of the I-League this season, following their 1-0 victory against Aizawl FC last week. But, they still have four games to play, including the derby. A two-week international break during the same period too has been postponed for the time being. Previously, as many as three FIFA World Cup Qualifiers of the senior men’s team were postponed.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, some major sporting events across the globe have either been cancelled, suspended or postponed. The football leagues in Italy, Spain, England. France and Germany are all suspended too. Indian sporting events too have suffered, with the Indian Premier League postponed until 15th April